At around 1:30 pm on May 26, approximately 15 police officers raided a licensed marijuana dispensary on the Danforth, confiscating the shop’s cannabis products as part of a citywide crackdown on storefront cannabis distributors.
The raids, dubbed by Toronto Police Services as Project Claudia, affect an unconfirmed fraction of over 100 dispensaries in the city. (TPS will hold a news conference on May 27 with more details on Project Claudia.)
The police raids come two weeks after Mayor John Tory penned a letter to the Licensing and Standards Committee, raising concerns about the proliferation of weed shops in Toronto and threatening to shut them down.
We spoke to the manager of one dispensary, who didn’t want to be identified, on what occurred this afternoon. Here’s his firsthand account.
The police came in with a search warrant and confiscated all of our medicine. They barged in. I saw them smashing windows next door to us at another dispensary, so when I heard the noise, I went out to have a look and it was police officers. I guess nobody was in there or the door was locked, and they were unable to access the store. When they saw me open our doors, they came and barged in, and they went right to the back and took everything.
There were three of us at the store. Because we were compliant, nothing was messed around. We were “arrested” but not really cuffed. We were held against our will and unable to make any phone calls, were told not to speak or move and had to sit still.
We have a number of products, not only cannabis. We have oils, tinctures, edibles, other alternatives when patients can’t smoke or don’t want to get high but still need the healing powers of medicinal marijuana. The only thing we’re being charged for is anything with marijuana in it.
I’ve been answering the phone calls today, I’ve been informing all of our customers what has happened. It’s unfortunate that we had to tell them that temporarily, they’ll have to find medicine at a different location. Most likely they would run to the streets, which is very harmful and scary for me. I’m quite sad. When they took all of our products, they were mixing the bags. I can’t sell that no more. When people are looking for a specific type to treat a specific treatment or condition, now I’m unable to offer our services until we reassess and buy new products.
I feel like what happened wasn’t fully right, but at the same time, I don’t want to be fighting against what’s happening. I understand the police are doing their jobs, but so are we. Having saying that, I think it’s just a huge misunderstanding.
The worst part about it is the people getting the worst of it is our patients, which really sucks. It saddens me. All this happening, it didn’t hit me until I thought about specific patients that we have that really need this in their lives. It worries me where they’re going to get their oils, their tinctures and how they’re going to sleep tonight.
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